A MEMORIAL TO MEMORIAL DAY

I wanted to take this opportunity today to re-post this blog from one of my earlier tributes to my father.  He would have been 95 years old today.

General “Black Jack” Pershing of World War I fame?  No, not exactly.  I would like you to meet another Jack Pershing.  Named after the famous general, this Jack Pershing lived a life outside of public view.  Decorated war veteran, wonderful husband, amazing father, hard worker, when this Jack Pershing entered your life – whatever your life was, it was made better because of him.

A few months ago, my sister sent me a box.  It was a small box.  To almost everyone in the world this box would be meaningless, containing absolutely no material value. But to me, it was very special – even priceless.

For it contained…memories.

This Jack Pershing was a World War II army air force veteran serving 3 years in the South Pacific.  During that time, he was awarded the following accommodations: Asiatic Pacific Accommodation, Philippine Liberation Accommodation, Good Conduct Accommodation, and the Presidential Citation with Oak Leaves.  The object in the foreground is his I.D. bracelet.  It was completely blackened by the passing of time (But, my jeweler accepted the challenge of restoration).  The object in the background is his war diary.  More about that later in this post. His medals and ribbon commendations are between the two.

© 2010

He was inducted into the U.S. Army on August 26, 1942 at Fort Dodge, Iowa.  Stopping for a moment in time, this photograph was snapped to send to his beautiful wife.  His beautiful wife that he would not see for some 3 years.

© 2010

Before shipping out, he purchased a small, insignificant Service Man’s Diary.  He was that way.  When something was important, Jack Pershing wanted to record it for all of time.  And now 68 years later, I share a portion of it with you.  It’s interesting to catch a glimpse into someone’s thoughts as everyday they face the unknown dangers of war.

© 2010

The entry that struck me from this page, “Samar Islands/Philippines/February 2, 1945/First sight of civilization in 2 years.”  Since he shipped out of San Francisco in 1942, he had seen no form of civilization.  In three years, Jack Pershing was never able to go home to see his young wife he had left behind.  But she was in his thoughts based on the last entry, “Bought souvenirs for Myrtle.”

© 2010

In three uninterrupted years of service in the South Pacific, Jack Pershing was involved in 12 war campaigns.

© 2010

Jack Pershing

DAD 1a

© 2010

Jack Pershing rarely spoke of the war.  I don’t know if he was trying to forget that period of his life or if the memory was simply to painful to recall.  I’ve often wondered what atrocities he may have witnessed.  I wonder about the human devastation he experienced in those three years.  I honestly don’t know.  But I do know this – he served with honor, never retreating from the patriotism that created such a love for America in the very core of his being.  A great man, known only to a few – and now…you.

Meet Jack Pershing.  No, not that Jack Pershing.  Meet Jack Pershing Thomas – my father.

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~ by photographyfree4all on May 27, 2013.

40 Responses to “A MEMORIAL TO MEMORIAL DAY”

  1. Great post… thanks for shareing a real pice of history 🙂

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  2. A beautiful story, well written,

    Bob

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  3. A truly heartwarming story. Thank you for sharing. God bless America, and God bless our troops and their families.

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  4. Being the war and history buff that I’m not, I can’t honestly say I know who the first Jack Pershing was, but I really enjoyed this photo-nostalgic journey. The picture of the diary cover is priceless. Your dad’s notes, even more so. It seems we feel closer to people reading their written thoughts.

    What a wonderful legacy you have been left with.

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  5. thanks for your very nice comment, Heather. this post was very close to my heart, as you could probably guess. I’m glad you stopped by, today.

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  6. Thank you for your kind words, Barb. I’m very glad i was able to share this with all of you. I hope you’ll stop by again, soon.

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  7. Thanks for stopping by, Bob. Thanks for your compliments – they always encourage me. I hope you’ll come by again, soon.

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  8. Thanks, Mark. I’m glad you stopped by today. thanks for your kind words.

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  9. really awesome vintage photos!! love them.

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  10. Thanks, artsy! I loved working with them to get them the way i thought would be best. Thanks for stopping by.

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  11. Hi. Very interesting personal post indeed. So, on a personal note, considering the odd moments when my father would relate his experiences in the Korean War–I think usually just to let off some steam or because something surfaced unexpectedly–your father’s silence may have been a great kindness to you. Shanti Om/Peace

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  12. Your pride in your father shines through in your telling of his story. He was a brave, and very handsome man. Thank you for sharing such a personal journey. ~ Lynda

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  13. Really enjoyed this post… It our betters our lives to remember those that came before us

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  14. Really incredible; my late grandpa served in WWII too, he was the same way–didn’t talk much of it. Thank you for sharing this :).

    Best
    David

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  15. Thanks for your kind words, Lynda. This post was special to me, and I’m glad to hear that most of the people who’ve commented have been equally touched by his brief story. Sometimes, I just need to deviate a little from the photography to touch on a subject special to me. Thanks for stopping by.

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  16. Thank you for your comment, Don. It’s interesting that you had someone in your life that helped you connect to this story. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’ll come by again.

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  17. I’m glad you enjoyed the post, darkhalide. Thank you for your kind comment. I hope you’ll stop by again, soon.

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  18. wow.. he had been to Borneo island.. that’s my place.. cool! Thanks for sharing it..

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  19. Thanks for your comment Joan. It’s a small world isn’t it? I hope you’ll stop by again soon.

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  20. Really like these vintage photos!!

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  21. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a nice comment, digitalphotoalbum. I hope you’ll come by again, soon.

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  22. Thanks for the comment! I really enjoyed reading this post and others on your blog. The pictures for this post in particular add so much dimension to your story. I look forward to following your blog in the future.

    Best,
    Ashley

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  23. Praise the Lord for men like him that was willing to fight to keep our country free!!!

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  24. I have a lump in my throat. My Dad was in European theatre and on his way East the war ended while going through the Panama canal. I did a tour near Saigon. Reading about the troops getting out of Irag and cheering once they crossed into Kuwait reminds me, as this post does, that sacrifices men make for a cause goes deep into what is supposed to make us great. Thanks for sharing.

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  25. Thanks for your comment, Miss Betty. I will be forever grateful for their sacrifice. I hope you’ll sto by again soon.

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  26. Thanks for your thoughts and comment eseltee. I’m glad you stopped by and shared your story to add to this post. I hope you’ll stop by again, soon

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  27. Thank you for telling a very personal post with that story about your father. And for a beautiful way to pass it on to us.

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  28. I’m glad I was able to share this post about my father, Truels. While my intention is to provide a photography blog, sometimes I feel a strong need to deviate just a bit. Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate your visit and hope you’ll continue to stop by and read my posts.

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  29. Wow, great post! Amazing the condition of these items, i bet that diary has seen some places. You have done a great job in recording a part of Jack Pershing both in Photographs and in words for the world to see.

    Alex

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  30. Thanks for your comment, Alex. When I first saw the diary, my thoughts were exactly that – oh, the places you must have seen! Thank you for your kind words. I really hope you’ll stop by again, soon!

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  31. Wow. I’m (almost) speechless. Your storytelling ability is outstanding and you had me from the get go. Loved the ending. 🙂 You have reason to be so very proud.

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  32. Thank you Milkay for such kind words. I’m humbled that people seem to like my way of presenting my blog posts. The words often flow so naturally. I hope you’ll stop by again, soon.

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  33. Nice tribute.

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  34. I am completely blown away by your latest entry. Thank you for sharing that!

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  35. Thank you for your kind comment, 8th. I’m happy to share it with you. I hope you’ll stop by again.

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  36. What a great posting! Loved the peek into the box of memorabilia…and what a handsome man he was. Thanks for sharing.

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  37. This is a very intimate post about a great man. This is my first visit, but I think I’ll be back. Thanks.

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  38. Thanks, Ken. I’m very proud of my father! I’m really glad you stopped by.

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  39. I so loved your Dad & Mom. They were such special people….the kind that brought a smile to your face as soon as you saw them….the kind that let their lights shine…..such precious memories I have of them. Thank you for posting this, Steve!

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  40. Thank you Sheri. He did make me laugh a lot.

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